MELBOURNE: Mohammad Amir, the Pakistani paceman, is expected to be fit for the Boxing Day Test starting on Monday (December 26) despite “feeling a bit stiff” after a bruising encounter in Brisbane. On the opening day of the first Test, Amir was taken off the field on a motorised stretcher after digging his knee into the Gabba turf. It appeared a serious injury and there were initial fears that Amir could face a lengthy stint on the sidelines. Surprisingly, the 24-year-old made a shock reappearance just 30 minutes later and continued to bowl. However, he suffered a large bruise on his thigh later in the match courtesy of a rapid full toss from Mitchell Starc, the Australian paceman. Grant Flower, the Pakistan batting coach, said Amir was sore but would play in the second Test at the MCG. “There’s quite a bit of bruising on his thigh,” he said on Thursday (December 22). “He’s feeling a bit stiff but he’s alright. I think the guys are fit enough to go through (five days). I think our attack will probably be the same. “We don’t have that all-rounder (option). It’s one of those things. The guys are just going to have get through it,” he added.
Flower played down the verbal exchange between Amir and Starc in the aftermath of the full toss incident. “There was just a bit of banter going on. Just the usual,” he said. “I don’t think there was anything over the top. There were a couple of strong words exchanged but that’s part of the game.” Flower expected veteran batsman Younis Khan and captain Misbah-ul-Haq to improve after indifferent performances in Brisbane. Younis made a hard fought 65 in the second innings but threw away his wicket with a rash reverse-sweep off Nathan Lyon, Australia’s off-spinner. While Misbah failed in both innings with scores of 4 and 5. “As a coach, if you applaud guys when they play certain shots, then you’ve got to be careful how you go about it when they get out playing the same shot,” Flower said. “He’s (Younis) getting into better positions. I think today he had his best net practice for ages and he looked brilliant. “He (Misbah) is going through a bit of a trot but he’s been through these periods before and he’s a class player,” he added. “He’s got the mental strength and resilience to come back and I’m sure a good innings is just around the corner.”